The majority of businesses now realize that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital component to any online business strategy. It is only the most backward thinking companies that have dismissed the benefits of SEO, or even worse, have not heard of it at all.
The basics of SEO are simple – to increase traffic to a website through a search medium (i.e. Google, Yahoo, MSN Live Search, etc). The process involves adjusting various elements of the website so that it is more visible to search engines and easier to operate for users.
Currently the market is saturated with so-called SEO companies that are simply jumping on the bandwagon. Therefore it is paramount to have a detailed research process before entering into a contract with any SEO specialist. Here are some helpful suggestions to consider.
1. Get a number of quotes. As with any service it is important to get quotes from several companies. All firms charge different rates for their services, hence assessing the value and what the SEO company will provide is essential.
2. Cheaper is not always better. Like most things in life, “you get what you pay for”. While some SEO specialists offer lower prices to build a customer base, it may be in your best interest to pay a little more and get a higher level of service.
3. You can’t guarantee a #1 ranking. Be wary of companies that offer a page one or position one ranking. Nobody outside of search medium firms can guarantee such positions, and it is doubtful executives within these companies can make such claims. Search engine algorithms are extremely complex and it takes real experts to improve the rankings of a site.
4. Do a search. Put the company you are considering to the test by entering FE: “Raleigh SEO Expert” into a search engine. If they are one of the top five listings, you are provided a guarantee that they are competent.
5. Beware of secretive companies. If an SEO firm creates deceptive or misleading content on your behalf, such as doorway pages or “throwaway” domains, your site could be removed entirely from search engines. Ultimately, you are responsible for the actions of any companies you hire, so be sure they are very forthcoming and clear about what they intend to do with your website.
6. Request customer feedback. Ask permission to speak to former clients for their feedback on how the SEO specialists improved their online profile and profits. Happy customers are the best form of promotion and should not be a secret.
7. Get a Referral. Seek a referral from a trusted source that has been through the process before.
8. Ask in forums. If you can’t find somebody who can recommend an SEO company to you, consider searching and visiting online forums. However, beware that not all forum posters are honest people, so take their opinion (no matter if positive or negative) with a grain of salt. Forums are not as reliable as in-person contacts.
These are just some of the most important issues when selecting an SEO company. Of course, there are many other factors to consider and each case is unique. Ideally, you want to work with a firm that can prove its worth, detail their methods of success and document their experience in the industry.
Hiring an SEO provider is an investment and should be treated as such. By aligning with the right company, increased online visibility and revenue is a real and attainable possibility.